Interview by Willi Paul
What is the “state of the planet?”
We are in a hybrid period. Out of necessity (climate change, growing environmental awareness, global financial meltdown, compromised health, increasingly expensive health care, etc.) humanity is transitioning out of years of indifference and selfishness into a time of understanding the world we live in, and finding our rightful place in it.
Why should the average person care about a LEED building?
The U.S. Green Building Council created Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED has become the benchmark for green building in the USA. Prior to LEED there were no real standards. Local Codes, yes, National Standards, no.
From Wikipedia: “LEED certified buildings often provide healthier work and living environments, which contributes to higher productivity and improved employee health and comfort. The USGBC has compiled a long list of benefits of implementing a LEED strategy which ranges from improving air and water quality to reducing solid waste, benefitting owners, occupiers, and society as a whole”.
Being that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, the benefits of a healthy LEED building are obvious. So, why not build and retrofit our homes the same way with the same considerations? Also, residential and commercial buildings have large carbon footprints, something like 40% of the U.S. Energy Market, so replacing aging HVAC systems, appliances, and lighting systems greatly reduces energy consumption and a building’s carbon footprint.
How do you rate your experience at BuildIt Green, in Berkeley.
Please give some pros and cons…. There are no cons to Build It Green. The education available to the “building” community and people who are interested in the built environment, is excellent.
You write about building a…”Spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on Earth.” Sounds Utopian, perhaps unattainable. What is this place and how does one get to it?
“This place” is yourself, and how you relate to the world around you. Each person votes with his or her dollars each time he or she exchanges money for a product or a service, because money tells the manufacturer or provider that we approve of the “dream” or “vision” they have of their company. Because of Watchdog Groups, and the Internet, the inner workings of companies are becoming more transparent, and the conscious shopper can choose whether or not he or she wants to support child labor, slave labor, unfair trade agreements, environmental degradation, and more.
Whatever you can think of to ask is just a click away on your search engine. Through signing petitions, letter writing campaigns, boycotting, etc. the message is clear – that dream, that old paradigm, is not working any longer. When we ask how products are made, and what are their effects are on earth’s life support systems, and each other, then we start to feel part of earth’s life support system, not separate from it, like we ARE the earth’s immune system, protecting our home, which our survival as a species depends upon. The third part of this 3 part harmony of environmental stability and social justice is spiritual fulfillment, because it just simply feels good to know we’re doing a good job taking care of business. Our planet’s health and welfare is definitely “our business”, our big ticket investment, and if not ours, then whose? Who is going to do this for us? Gandhi said “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. So,look around and see who is with you, and celebrate! That is spiritual fulfillment.
Can the art / practice of Feng Shui can help solve basic human issues, like environmental pollution and poverty? Any examples?
Feng Shui is the art of placement. It’s really common sense. If someone observes the lay of the land, ignores it and builds a house in a wind tunnel, how scattered will that person’s thoughts be, always hearing rustling, breathing dust, and concerned about objects crashing into or falling on his house. In the book “Move your stuff, Change your life”, Karen Rauch Carter interviews Barry Gordon, a physicist and Feng Shui master.
He says that “Feng Shui is the intelligent use of intentions through deep environmental metaphor…….every smidgen of our universe affects every other…….everything is contained in consciousness which has no boundaries….so the placement of your bed has meaning in relation to the rest of your experience. The bed is a representation of your beliefs and emotions on the physical dimension, which manifest differently, and seemingly disconnected by you, on other dimensions. When your bed is moved with intention, the belief and emotion dimensions also move.”
Feng Shui is applied primarily to buildings, and energy reduction is on everyone’s minds these days. An intention would be to build a passive house or retrofit an existing home or apartment requiring little energy for heating and cooling. When making purchases, ask first where they will end up as trash. When you throw something away, ask, “Where is away”? There is no away! Understand how that affects the world around you, and your place in it. If your intention is to build pathways out of poverty, use the 5 R’s as a Guideline: Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
What myths are you using in the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposiums?
We say that we are awakening the dreamer, changing the dream. The Achuar, a tribe living in a remote part of the Amazon Rain Forest in Ecuador, is a true dream tribe. They place tremendous value on their dreams, and meet in the mornings to discuss the family’s dreams from the night before.
To quote the Symposium “ In the late 1980’s, the Achuar elders and shamans began having dreams and visions that a grave threat was coming to their people. They soon realized what that threat was, as they began to see what contact with the outside world and its thirst for oil was doing to the land and cultures of their indigenous neighbors……They made a bold move…and reached out to create a partnership with the very world that was threatening to destroy them………This response to the call from the Achuar people to change the dream of the modern world is consistent with ancient indigenous prophecy – the Eagle and the Condor.
According to some ancient indigenous legends that go back millennia, the Eagle is the bird which represents societies that are very materialistic and very human oriented. And the Condor represents more spiritual societies and ones that feel more integrated with their environment. And so this legend said that every 500 years, we go through cycles, and the last cycle began at the end of the 1400’s, roughly the time of Columbus. And it was predicted that during that cycle, the Eagle would dominate, but within 500 years, that cycle would start to change, and the Eagle and Condor would fly together in the same skies…..and so, in a remote village in the rainforest, these two worlds came together, and the Pachamama Alliance was born.”
What myths are you creating?
Again, quoting the Symposium: “We …need to change the dream of the modern world, a dream rooted in consumption and acquisition, without any regard to the consequences to the natural world, or even our own future.” “Out of our work with the Achuar, we came to see that we in the modern world truly are in some kind of trance, living a dream that’s threatening to destroy not only the rain forest and the Achuar way of life, but the health and well-being of our entire planet….”
We are changing our dream by asking ourselves, what kind of unexamined assumptions have been leading us into such dreaded unintended consequences? How is it that we have accepted so much pain and suffering as a means to an end? For example, as a kid, when we would pull into a gas station, and the smell of pumping gas would make me sick, it never occurred to me that that was unacceptable, to poison ourselves, because the end game was the car, which would take us where we wanted to go. Nausea and vomiting were just an unfortunate down side. Burning petroleum, and creating smog so bad that our eyes and lungs burn and we have global smog alert days so bad that people were masks and the young and elderly are forced to stay inside, is madness. Yet, we’ve accepted this for ourselves – what can be done? Well, a lot can be done, and many of us are waking up to that. As I said earlier, we vote with our dollars. We are waking up to that. We are beginning to see we have been using the wrong operating manual, and we are changing that.
Thanks to the internet and the popularity of social networks, it is clear that we enjoy working with and trusting each other, globally, as we create the kind of world which respects, honors and supports life for all the children of all species – there are NO throw away species! This is a big shift away from the nightmare of fear and divisiveness our Western culture has been living, particularly for the last 200 years of the Industrial Revolution. Quoting the Symposium: “Environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment, and social justice, rather than being separate issues, are actually three interrelated facets of one profoundly interconnected whole.”
Is there a “critical mass” for the vision of the Dream Symposiums to make a difference?
Yes we can, and Yes we did, and Yes we are continuing to do so, as a Labor of Love.
Has the economic crisis impacted your bottom line? Have you invented new ways to serve your clients?
I had to re-invent myself, make myself more available to people, because this conversation about sustainability is not limited to green building. “How we live our days is how we live our lives”. That’s a quote from I don’t know who, but I think about it a lot. I asked myself, What do I do without a job? Will I still feel like I’m contributing to the changes which are so necessary now, not tomorrow when I have more money? The answer is yes, because I am human, and humans need to open up and be part of the discussion that we need each other now, more than ever, and wake up and fall in love with life, food, each other, animals, air, water, krill, whales, bees, bats, whatever rocks your world, now.
Not tomorrow or in your dreams, well, maybe your dreams are telling you that you are loved, and it’s time to show up because the time to complain about how things are not going your way is over. The issues are far bigger than petty grievances. All hands are needed on deck, now! So I’m doing this interview and saying what comes through me because I get in my gut that Love Wins! But not without me. That’s a party I don’t want to miss.
Does the human race need to adopt a vegan or raw food diet to survive?
The human race has the wonderful choice to support their local communities and become involved with how their food is grown and their meat raised. Educate yourself on those issues. If it hurts you how it’s grown, then don’t eat it. Eat what feels right. Educate yourself on these issues. Visit the website:
You’re alive on this earth and part of the life support systems that support life as we know it. As you know it.
What is your track record on Bay Area social justice issues?
Other than being a Facilitator of the Awakening The Dreamer Symposium, I am the Vice President of the Board of Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity. AHO is a youth run, adult supervised Nonprofit working with youth between the ages of 16 and 25 who are either homeless, or at the risk of homelessness – in Marin. Marin? Youth homelessness in Marin? Yes, and lots of it. Please visit our website http://www.ahoproject.org. I am also involved with Challenge Day, Challenge Day’s vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated.
Check out their website and participate in a Challenge Day. You’ll never be the same again. http://www.challengeday.org
I am also a big supporter of Van Jones’ Ella Baker Center: http://www.ellabakercenter.org and Green For All: http://www.greenforall.org
San Rafael, CA
“The human race has the wonderful choice to support their local communities and become involved with how their food is grown and their meat raised. Educate yourself on those issues. If it hurts you how it’s grown, then don’t eat it.”
Linda Delair offers private consultation and group presentations to homeowners and professionals on how to incorporate green values and solutions into their lives. She brings healthy, sustainable living solutions to home and business environments – showing how green product choices can make money as well as save money.
She is an inspiring speaker as well as a Green Design and Materials Expert. She has been a featured speaker and on panel discussions for several organizations such as ASID, IIDA, NKBA, S.F. Design Center, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, Green Building Professionals Guild, and Student Career Forums.
She earned a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council, and CGBP (Certified Green Building Professional) certification from Build It Green. She is a graduate of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute, the Landmark Education Curriculum for Living Program, and the Environmental Earth Forum, She also studied at BTB Feng Shui School.
Linda is a member of the NKBA, ADPSR, USGBC, BIG, and the Marin Conservation League. She volunteers as Vice President of the non-profit Ambassadors of Hope & Opportunity and as a facilitator of the Pachamama Alliance’s Awakening The Dreamer Initiative. She received an AA degree from the Community College of Rhode Island, and studied Architecture and Interior Design at Canada College, and College of Marin.
Linda has worked in the building industry for over ten years, specializing in remodeling, interior design, space planning, and consulting for companies that include Sunworks Design/Build, Studio Mehler, and Miconi Marble & Tile. She was most recently a green materials/product consultant at Green Fusion Design Center, Northern California’s premier Green Building Materials and Natural Home/Office Furnishing’s Showroom, facilitating “green” home and business makeovers. She also acted as a liaison between manufacturers, trades people, the design community, and clients.
Prior to Interior Design, she was a clothing designer for five years for Verite, a company located in Los Angeles and Miami. She was a featured artist on a Jane Fonda Fashion TV Special, as well as several other shows.